spirits passed on & on into the election night

It's election night, and I am far behind in blogging. There has been much taking place in this rainy Fall. This time last year we had snow. I just came in wearing Gore-Tex and breathing mist. Vancouver has swept east with the wind, and Montreal is a damp garden of fresh air.

Last night I conjured the Montreal Opera and the spirit of Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with Tomas Phillips @ SAT. Turntables, live processing and microsound treatment of mezzo Michele Losier and soprano Karin Cote. Excerpts and fragments of the mise-en-scene opera rendered nostalgic: our new laptops miming & mining the old melancholia of radio's broadcast. Old Ariadne records subject to cuts and burns. Subliminal frequencies, silences, ethereal voices. Events, not repetitions, save for "stumm" (German for silence, quiet, secretive, pronounced SCHTOOM)./ One month of preparation for thirty minutes, as part of the mix_sessions "technopera" series. It was remarkably peaceful. I'd like to be able to approach music and sound like this again, although I'd like to do so with more time and with a dedicated sound engineer.

The conceptual document is here.
The information on the performance is here.
It was documented.


... /// books are inside of me; the words that I am writing are not destined for this blog: "the thesis" is occupying me 24/7. "Dj Spooky" has become singular, spectral yet emblematic of remix culture's treatment of property...


The last time I wrote, it was to remark on the passing of Derrida; this time, I feel it necessary to remark on the passing of John Peel, BBC Radio One Dj and evangelist of the up-and-coming for several decades... All the obits mention what he did for punk, rock and hip-hop, yet the energy he gave to techno, house, IDM, drum 'n' bass, acid house and all the electric genre mutations in-between is insurmountable in light of his decades of dedication to almost every genre of sound. Then there is his love of dub, to which I had the incredible chance of lending an ear at Sonar 2003, lost in the arena-sized "press party" and slouching free champagne after Jeff Mills slammed funk into techno at high-speed.

Peel was for music what Derrida was for thought. Both on the fringe, playing the underground, somehow hanging in there, and through sheer force and wit, nudging the lens a degree off focus, bringing into relief the shadows of the "obscure." Peel will be remembered warmly. That Derrida is the Captain Beefheart of philosophy (but with a sweet and tender side) is a vague analogy, but one that captures what HST would call the "weird" that boils beneath the surface of both. The weird and the elegant.

Hail to the champions of the weird...


I am reading Lenin at the moment via Slavoj Zizek in Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917. (See the review by Michael Gretz here at Bad Subjects). There's an edge to Lenin's polemic that digs me.. I hate and love him with alternating pages. A brilliant tactician, but one wonders why he was so obsessed with names, with naming names in every sentence: the "Kornilovs and the Mensheviks, etc." The name-calling seems to bleed so easily into the roll-call for firing squads. I tend to agree with Nietzsche: nobody is accountable as to how they were born, capitalist or proletarian. Lenin appears quite at ease when he claims that the proletariat will know how to run things and that the bourgeoisie and the capitalists deserve nothing in life, which makes about as much sense as aristocratic justification for their place as the honoured descendents of god (and the peasants, the race of Cain). Perhaps he is a little too at ease--as long as he remains the intellectual-in-charge. At least he is honest: this is the dictatorship of the proletariat. Polemic fuel to start a riot--or a dictatorship led by one's own name. Zizek's encounter with Lenin is fascinating, and I respect him for provoking the contemporary left. I'll reserve further thoughts on the subject for now.


Fingers crossed for Kerry.

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posted. Tue - October 26, 2004 @ 11:23 AM           |